Are you doing a pork shoulder or pork butt for the first time? Here is a step by step guide to how I prep my pork butts for the smoker. Take it with a grain of salt or as a starting point for how you want to prep your pork shoulder.
Pick Your Butt
The first thing that you want to do is pick your cut and your particular pork butt or shoulder. Let’s just call it a butt from now on. You can either choose a Picnic cut or a Boston. The picnic will have far more skin to remove and often comes out tasting a but hammier. The Boston cut is what you want. When you get it, one side will be all fat and the other side will be meat and fat. Choose a butt that has good marbling or fat distribution on that side. I like to stay around 8 pounds per butt for good cook times.
Prepping Your Butt
When you get your pork home and start prepping it for the grill, your first step is to trim it up. You need to cut down the fat side to allow for better smoke penetration. The pork butt is a fatty piece of meat so I cut off nearly all of the fat, down to about 1/8 of an inch. There is so much fat inside the meat that you do not need the extra fat on the outside like you would for say, a brisker. Cut it all off.
Next, you want to apply your rub. If this is your first smoke, it is not a bad idea to start with just a salt and pepper rub. If you want to go with a little more, here is the rub that i use.
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 4 TBSP Paprika
- 1 TBSP Pepper
- 1 TBSP Kosher Salt
- 1 TBSP Chili Powder
- 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
- 1 TBSP Onion Powde
- 1 TSP Cayenne Powder
First rub the outside of the pork with mustard and then apply your rub. When you are done, wrap it up in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready.
Smoke Your Butt
Now, you are all ready to smoke your pork butt. I prefer to use hickory at 225 degrees. I smoke for 18 to 20 hours or until the interior temperature reaches 199 degrees. Might sound high to some but trust me, it takes that temp to break down this tough cut of meat. When it is all done, it is fall apart awesome.